Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A few of our favorite books for the younger crowd

This list was hastily thrown together. By that I mean that there is no rhyme or reason to the order or selection. I simply looked through our shelves and when I thought, "Oh we love that one!" I jotted it down and put it here. I hope you find a gem or two that will be new to you!

Books by Sandra Boyton (esp Snuggle Puppy and Barnyard Dance)
Books by Peter Spiers (esp Christmas, Noah's Ark and People)
All Things Bright and Beautiful illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Goodnight Moon
Guess How Much I Love You
The Year at Maple Hill Farm
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
Jesus Storybook Bible
The Big Picture Story Bible
Dr Seuss's Sleep Book
Books by Wendy Anderson Halperin (esp Love Is...)
Androcles and the Lion by Aesop and Janet Stevens
Not a Box (I didn't like Not a Stick)
A Bad Case of Stripes
Blueberries for Sal
The Bee Tree
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs
One Morning in Maine
Horton Hatches the Egg
Could Be Worse
Oh the Places You'll Go
How to Make and Apple Pie and See the World
A Giraffe and a Half
Pancakes for Breakfast
The Gift of Nothing
Little Pea
Gruffalo
St George and the Dragon
The Kitchen Night
I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla Sollew
The Napping House
King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
Are You My Mother
There's a Monster at the End of This Book This is from my childhood and my boys love it :0)
James Harriot's Treasury For Children
The Little Mouse, Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Preschool Art
Toddler's Busy Book
Preschooler's Busy Book

*Please let me know if you have trouble with a link so I can fix it. Happy reading!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thoughts on Christmas

Here is a link to a post last year about Christmas generosity and simplicity. It has many quotes and links to others that have summarized the topic very well. If you are trying to figure out just how materialistic to be this year, or how much to simplify, or how generous to be...this post may offer some helpful perspective.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

WONDERFUL Series on Religions

Even if you are not particularly interested in other religions this is worth your time. It made me really appreciate Christianity even more. And, it is a helpful summary of the main religions in the world and how they deal with the problem of evil. One of my former pastors, Pastor Lee, wrote 8 short blog posts on the topic. Here is part of the intro:

A fellow PCA pastor (Joe Novenson) once suggested a metaphor that would help us hold this truth -- the existence of evil in this world -- in our minds in such a way that would allow us to clearly see how the religions of this world differ. It's a very helpful metaphor, and I'm just going to reproduce it here.

Please imagine that life is like a 16-foot deep, 16-foot across, round, slimy-walled PIT. You are in it, and you can't get out of it.

You're in way over your head, in a situation in which you can get little help, and over which you have little control.

But to make matters worse... inside that pit, there's also an 8-foot cobra. He's coiled and ready to strike.

Let's say that that cobra represents all the injustice, death, crime, suffering, poverty, pain, disease, war, & wrong-doing in this world. It represents everything that is wrong -- both in your personal life and in the world in general.

And here's what we're going to do: We're going to escort a representative from each of the world's major religions right up to the edge of that pit. That representative will see you in the pit and offer you his religion's version of "salvation."

We'll see just how different or alike the religions of this world are. Note that if you can think of a religion that we won't bring to the edge of the pit, it's really just a deviation (some would say a "heresy") of one of the religions that we will bring to the edge of the pit.

... to be continued ...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part6

Part 7
Part 8

Birthday Tips

Here are some GREAT frugal, simple and special birthday tips. This mom has 10 children to celebrate so she has experience with birthdays! I love the personal feeling of her tips and where the focus is. I'll be incorporating some of these!

Letter Reversal

Check out this handy tip to help kids with letter reversals. It has helped my boys.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Loving Homemaking

Check out this little post. It has a few practical suggestions for getting you "into" homemaking again...really enjoying it. As I read I remembered how I loved to do some of the things she mentioned before I had kids. I loved to learn about and study the art and science of keeping home. Her tips reminded me that I have been missing doing that! I think I'll try to make time for that again.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Teaching Boys

If you have boys you just have to listen to this. My good friend Terrilynn sent it my way and I learned a lot from it. It is called Teaching Boys and Other Kids Who Would Rather Be Playing in Forts. The talk is given by Andrew Pudewa, the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remy leads us in Psalm 128



Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord
Who walks in His ways
When you eat the labor of your hands
You shall be happy and it shall be well with you
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house
Your children like olive plants all around your table
Behold thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord
The Lord bless you out of Zion
And may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life
Yes, may you see your children's children
Peace be upon Israel!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A few of my favorite things...Technology Edition

Another list of favorites. This time, the technology that has simplified my life or just made things more fun.

Gmail

If you have not switched, well...you just have to. The best part is that when you switch to G-mail you don't have to tell a soul. G-mail can check your old e-mail accounts for you (numerous accounts actually) and you can read it right in G-mail. The second best part is that you archive messages instead of deleting them and then all of your e-mails are SEARCHABLE! This is an amazing and wonderful thing. The third best part is hard to explain, but it's known as Inbox Heaven. You can read about it here. It has been very helpful to me.

Google Reader
I would not read blogs if it were not for Google Reader. I would forget which ones I wanted to look at and forget the address or forget where I saved the address. In Google Reader you can save all of the blogs that you want to follow and it will show you when there is a new entry. Pretty cool. A one stop shop.

Evernote
I LOVE evernote. It is such a handy catch all. My friend Tricia's husband Steve wrote a short review about it here.

Amazon Prime
This just keeps getting better and better. For $79 per year you get free two day shipping on tons of things. For us this alone is worth the price because all of our family lives in another state. We would spend more than this just shipping birthday presents to relatives. I use it to order tons of homeschool curriculum and supplies and many times the prices are better than they are in stores. Some used items are even included in the free shipping deal. You also have access to lots of instant view movies and TV shows free. AND, they just added a lending library for your Kindle. You can "borrow" tons of books, many recent best sellers. Even if you don't have a Kindle you can get the free version on many devices.

Swagbucks

This is a new favorite. I honestly don't love the search engine as much as I love google. But, after hearing so many stories of people getting Amazon Gift Cards free through Swagbucks, I had to try to like it. Now that I have been using it for about two months I have enough "bucks" to get $10 worth of Amazon Gift Cards. I have not been doing anything extra so this is just free money. Definitely worth it. You just sign up on the website and then click the little arrow in the corner of your search box and change the default to Swagbucks.

iPhone
It is not a necessity by any means, but man I love this phone! Things I love:
*5 megapixel camera with me all the time (and can shoot video too)
*syncs all of my address book and calendar with my Mac so I also have those with me
*I use the timer all the time.
*I use the calculator when I am shopping and it is SO MUCH easier than my old phone.
*The voicemail has a window showing each message and who it is from. You can listen or delete them from there instead of having to listen to every message and wait and wait and wait to get to the right one.
*has my iTunes music on it and I don't need headphones
*I can put my audio books on it.
*apps. Let me mention a few of my favorites.

Grocery Gadget
I now have my grocery list on my phone. It may (or may not :0) take a second longer to grab my phone and check the box next to the thing I need, but it is all in one place. Instead of having the list on the fridge, the scrap of paper on my desk, the back of the church bulletin, and an e-mail to myself all with things to buy...it is all together neatly organized on my phone. And, I never leave it at home. It is always with me. Also, the list stays on my phone and so once I have added things I never have to do it again. Just check the box and it is on the list and sorted by departments in the store. When you buy the item, check it off and it goes to the bottom of the list. One last benefit is that you can enter everything on the web from your desktop computer instead of having to enter it all on your phone.

VerseMinder

We use the Topical Memory System for our family to memorize scripture. Verseminder is put out by the same people and so uses the verses that we do at home. It progressively removes words as you practice so that you are filling in more and more blanks as you recite the verse. Or you can just look at the verses as flash cards. Either way, they are all with me on my phone. This app is nothing fancy, but it is exactly what I was looking for.

Kindle
I have a Kindle and love all of the free books that I can get on it. Some books are even cheaper to get on the Kindle than buying them new or used. My phone has a free Kindle app so I can access any of my Kindle books from wherever I am. Very handy when you are stuck somewhere.

Shop Savvy
This is amazing. You can scan the bar-code on something and it will tell you prices for that item at surrounding stores and online. Very handy for comparison shopping.


Stack the States

The boys love this and I do too! They are learning Geography and it is really fun. Everyone here wants to play Stack the States so it is a great reward to hand out.

Stack the Countries

Same idea, but a little harder because it has to do with countries and we are not as familiar with that info.

Free Chess
There is a paid version, but this one has been just fine.

Flash Tables

This is a multiplication flash card app. Here is a review that summarizes it pretty well.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pretty Makes the Job More Fun

Which would you rather see on top of your dryer? This:

Or this:

Thanks to Emily for her Container Therapy post over at Savvy Nest. I got these jars half price at Hobby Lobby yesterday and so it was only $6 total to make my laundry area more lovely :0)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A few of my favorite things...


Purex Crystals
They don't leave the oily or waxy residue that other fabric softeners coat your clothes in, but they make them smell very good!

Scentsy
These things will smell up your whole house! I get the wax from a Scentsy distributor. Then I got:

Walmart Wax Warmer and

Two Lakeside Plug in Warmers
So far my favorite scents are Amber Road, Autumn Stroll, and Sunkissed Citrus.


Xochitl Tortialla Chips
They are just like restaurant chips! SO YUMMY!



Brown Cow Cherry Vanilla Yogurt

This is my all time favorite! Maple is a close second, but I can duplicate that at home with plain yogurt and a little maple syrup.



Listerine

I know this is a cheezy choice for a list of favorites. But, I just had to have a root canal yesterday and let me tell you, it was not fun. This horrible tasting Listerine is the only mouthwash on the market that "Was shown in a clinical study to reduce 52% more plaque and 21% more gingivitis than brushing and flossing alone". Sounds good to me. Tooth pain is not fun.

What are some of your favorites? I'd love to know!
Next I will by posting about my favorite bits of technology...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I just wanted to mention...

We have a baby on the way! It just occurred to me that I had not shared this fun news here yet. We are very excited and thankful for this little one! He or she should arrive in early June. However, my good friend Marian told me months ago (long before I was pregnant) that she dreamed I was going to have a baby on May 27, 2012 (her son Jacob's birthday). We'll see if she is right :0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jellies

I can't remember where I first saw the site I Spy Animals, but I subscribed to it for the boys. Their post on Jellyfish has some AMAZING pictures! Check it out!

Walking On Water

About Peter walking on the water with Jesus in Matthew 14:

“The point the Lord was at pains to make at this remarkable moment was that to the extent that his disciples concentrate on him, to the extent that he becomes a fixation to us, to the extent that we remember what he has said and act on the truth of it; to the extent that we know Jesus to be with us; to the extent that we remember that he has called us to serve him and promised us the grace necessary to do so; to that extent we will stand on the water and not sink. And if we still fear to sink, it is the greatest conceivable gift that in the midst of the storm we have someone to look at who is not only in complete control of the weather, but who loves and cares for us as only a dying redeemer can.

“There is one more thing worth our always remembering in this episode. Christ lets Peter sink, but he does not let him drown. He teaches him to have a stronger faith; he does not desert him because his faith is weak.”

~Rob Rayburn

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Good Prayer for Mommas

Taken from The Valley of Vision:

May I scandalize none by my temper and conduct, but
recommend and endear Christ to all around,
bestow good on every one as circumstances permit,
and decline no opportunity of usefulness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gossip

If you really want to hear a challenging and convicting message about gossip, then grab this message by Scott Brown. Here is the CD version for $7 and here is the downloadable version for $4.95.

James 3:1-12
1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,a and set on fire by hell.b 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,c these things ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Becky's Peanut Butter Bars

My sister-in-law Becky had these at her house while we were there last week. I asked for the recipe and took them to our church potluck. Everyone there loved them too! Thanks Becky!

Peanut Butter Bars

1 c butter
2 c peanut butter
6 c powdered sugar
2 c graham cracker crumbs (maybe not all)
2 c milk chocolate chips (1 bag)

Beat butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar together. Then beat in graham crackers until the mixture is thick but not too dry. Press in a 9x13 pan. Melt milk chocolate slowly in the microwave and spread over peanut butter layer. Cut into squares and store in fridge. YUM!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blindspots

I just read Homeschool Blindspots and it was very thought provoking. I think it should be entitled Parenting Blindspots because it is not just for homeschoolers. The whole thing is worth your time, but I wanted to pull out one section. Reb Bradley says that his 16 year old son started working at a new job and had some questionable co-workers. He talks about how they influenced his son. Later he realized why his son was seeking their approval.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As I was looking back on this experience several years later, something my son said shortly after he started his job kept coming back to me. When I picked him up the second night of work, he got in the car with a big smile on his face and said "They like me!" As I dwelt on that comment, it suddenly came clear to me - my son had finally met someone who liked him for who he was. Few others in his entire life had shown him much acceptance, especially not his mother and I. It is no exaggeration - in our efforts to shape and improve him, all we did was find fault with everything he did. We loved him dearly, but he constantly heard from us that what he did (who he was) wasn't good enough. He craved our approval, but we couldn't be pleased.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

A Hypocrite?

My former pastor Tommy Lee has had a lot of good posts on his blog lately. Three of those were questions to help a person examine themselves to see if they are a hypocrite These are very short and there are some really great quotes in them as well. Here they are:
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3

Patience

Patience. Am I the only mother out there that does not have as much as she would like? Probably not, even though I feel like it at times. This is a terrific short piece on Keeping Your Patience. Even if you don't have little ones at home it is worth your time.

Training Children to See

Do your children not see the things that need to be done around the house? Doorposts had a wonderful blog post about a fun little training exercise to help kids actually notice what needs to be done. I will definitely be giving this one a try!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Dancing

Dancing with your kids is good exercise and just plain fun! Crank up some music, throw on a smile and embarrass yourself. Your kids will love it and you will feel better too!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

N.T. Wright on How to Read the Bible

Two Links and a Thought

Here is a great article about applying the gospel in mothering. It went right along with something I found here last week.

WWMD

What Would Mama Do?

What kind of example do I set for my kids? How do I use my free time? What do I do when things go all wrong? What do I do when I sin against someone (especially against my husband or kids)? Do I ask forgiveness? Do I cover over the sins of others? Do I abstain from gossiping? Do I make excuses for my sinful behaviors (PMS, just really stressed, overwhelmed, tired)? Do I feel like I have to be perfect? Do I live in the joy of the Lord even when I have to really seek it out? Do I pick up after myself? Do I work hard? Do I enjoy spending time with my family? Do I happily serve others? Am I generous? Do I listen well? Do I pray? Do I pray for the needs of those outside my family? Do I serve those outside my family? Do I serve any widows or any orphans in any way? Do I even think about them? Do I read my bible? Often? Do I love God and call Him my friend?

When my children face life everyday can I exhort them (as Paul did) to follow my example? I don't know about you, but that is a helpful thing to think about when I am trying to figure out what to do or how to spend my time. I don't want to feel like I must live perfectly before them, because they won't be perfect either. But I do want to show them a good example and what to do when they mess up. I want them to be so many things. To love God with their heart, soul, mind, and strength. To love their neighbor as themselves. To extend and receive forgiveness and move on. To be thankful. So I must be and do those things. After all, more is caught than taught.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pancake Verdict (and *my* recipe)

I confess that I was not nuts about the pancake recipe in that last post. One problem was that I did not have unsalted butter and I forgot to adjust the amount of added salt accordingly. They were not gross, but were a tad salty. Also, it mentions adding up to 1 cup of milk to thin the batter in the morning. Well, when I stirred the batter to assess the thickness they were so thin that I actually had to add 1 cup of flour to keep them from being as flat as a sheet of paper! I may have done something wrong, but I did double check things and nothing comes to mind. Oh well. I was excited to try something new, but the truth is...I love *my* little pancake recipe. I can't even remember where I got it. But this recipe makes terrific homemade pancakes every time. Try it out and see if you agree.

Brandy's Pancakes

1 egg
3/4 c milk
1 T sugar (brown or white)
2 T oil
1 c flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt

Whisk together well and let it sit for a bit while you heat up the griddle. Pour 1/4c batter on griddle for each pancake and leave it until bubbles burst in the middle and the edges begin to look dry. Flip it and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve with any of the following: butter, peanut butter, homemade strawberry freezer jam (yum!), and of course syrup! I triple this recipe to make enough for my family. Also I use "T" for tablespoon and "t" for teaspoon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Pancake Recipe

We are having these for breakfast in the morning. You mix the batter up the night before and leave in on the counter. How handy! I have the cookbook that it came from, but it is also available here.


Bruce Paltrow’s World Famous Pancakes

Yield: 3 dozen 5-inch pancakes

Active Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes + overnight resting

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fine salt
3 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more butter for cooking
6 organic large eggs
Up to 1 cup milk, as needed to thin batter
Real Vermont maple syrup, warmed

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones whisking just enough to combine (small lumps are okay). Let the batter sit, covered, overnight. The next morning, heat up your griddle or favorite nonstick pan and slick it with a little butter. Add enough milk to the batter to thin it to the right consistency—the thicker the batter, the thicker and heavier your pancakes; the thinner the batter, the more delicate your pancakes—neither is wrong. Cook the pancakes on the griddle, flipping them after bubbles appear on the surface of the uncooked side. Let cook 2-3 minutes more, then remove, and eat with lots of warm maple syrup.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prayer

O My God,
You fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heard admires, adores, loves you,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before you
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with you
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless you for the should you have created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body you have given me,
for preserving its strength and vigor,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do your bidding;
for your royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing you clearly.

I love you above the powers of language to express,
for what you are to your creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

From Valley of Vision (I changed some of the thees and thous)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meal Times

I just happened upon this helpful article over at doorposts entitled Teaching Our Children to Be Thankful For Their Food.

That reminded me of another wonderful article: Virtue Begins With a Spoon. No matter where you fall on the issue, this article will give you food for thought :0)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Thoughts and Attitude

"We think we’re stuck with the attitude that it was our lot in life to bear. The truth is that the sum total of our thoughts equals our attitude. Thoughts create emotions and then harden into attitudes."

I really appreciate Charlotte's blog. She is a christian, homeschooling mother of 12 children and went from a size 22 to a size 6 using T-Tapp 15-30 minutes a day. She just posted a great one about housework.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blue Zones

The idea of Blue Zones is interesting to me. It is not from a Christian point of view, so it is obviously lacking a lot of insight into how to live a long and happy life. But there are still things to be learned from their research. From the website:

We studied the verifiable parts of the world where people live the longest and report the highest levels of well-being. We distill their lifestyle lessons and then, working with top scientists, offer ways for you to learn, measure and act on your own longevity and happiness.

Power 9™ are specific lifestyle habits shared by the world’s longest living people. Here they are in summary:

1. Keep Moving - Find ways to move naturally, such as walking, gardening, using fewer labor saving devises.

2. Find Purpose - And pursue it with passion.

3. Slow Down - Work less, rest, take vacations.

4. Stop Eating - When you are 80 percent full.

5. Dine on Plants - Eat more veggies, and less meat and processed foods.

6. Drink Red Wine - Do it consistently but in moderation.

7. Join a Group - Create a healthy social network.

8. Feed Your Soul - Engage in spiritual activities.

9. Love Your Tribe - Make family a high priority.

Tips from Martha

I can't remember where I found this, but I know it was from Martha Stewart. Seven daily chores that will help keep your house tidy:

1. Make beds right away.
2. Do one complete load of laundry.
3. Empty all garbage cans.
4. Keep kitchen sink empty.
5. Clean up after yourself and help your kids do the same.
6. Bathroom wipe down.
7. Before bed 10 minute clean up.

Monday, July 25, 2011

School Links and a Tip For Boys

Ten Habits of a Happy Homeschool Lots of great ideas here. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

Michael Thompson on Teaching Boys This is written primarily for schools. I don't know much about the author, but I appreciated many of his insights into boys and education. Again, take what is helpful and pass on the rest.

And my 2 tips for teaching boys: 1)Move it right along. 2) Keep them moving.

With regard to number one, I often say,
"Focus."
"Quickly."
"Read this as fast as you can."
"Stay on task."
"Let's get this done."
"You have two minutes to do that paper."
"Who's going to get done with their math first...ready, set, go!"

Statements like these might make it seem like I am rushing through the school work or even trying to just check the box and get it done. It might seem like they would miss things or get stressed from the pressure. Not true.

In this house of 4 young boys this is what works to motivate them and keep school fun. Boys seem to get sidetracked easily and want to saunter through the school day. But what they really want down deep is to get to the point and then be done with it. My boys love learning and they enjoy school. I think part of the reason for that is that I don't drag it out. I require them to stay focused and pay attention and then they get to run and play. When I say I require them to stay focused that does not mean that they do it perfectly every time. It means that I am constantly reminding them and bringing them back to focus. Little by little they get better and focus a little longer.

One of mine used to get very side tracked during his reading lesson. Now I tell him to read the sentence as fast as he can. It helps him to focus and keep the meaning of the sentence as a whole in his mind. Instead of reading a word and taking a break, he keeps it moving, keeps the momentum, and reads much better.

We learn things dancing around, singing songs, and doing hand motions. They love sitting on the couch watching me be really silly during a Classical Conversations memory song.

Competition motivates them to do just about anything. They can be poking around picking up our play room. If I come in and say, "Who can get it done first?" they all spring into action. The funny thing about that is that they are all working at the same thing and it is a bit hard to determine the winner! They usually don't ask who won, but the competition spurs them on.

Now for point number two...if they can't sit still and focus then we get up and do something! Do it with them and it will give you a burst of energy too!

Jumping jacks
Dance to an upbeat song
Run laps around the house
Punch the air like a boxer
Hop on one foot
Ring around the rosey
Duck duck goose
Run in place as fast as you can
Hokey Pokey
Skip around the couch
Somersaults
Jump on both feet as high as they can

I want the boys to be able to sit down and do their work for as long as it takes. Sometimes they just have to control themselves. But many times when they have the wiggles I realize that they have been sitting through bible, then reading, then math...they have not been up in a while. If I send them to move around in some way and give them a drink of water they usually come back ready to focus again. I also let them wiggle a little while I am reading aloud. They can build something quietly or fiddle with something in their hands. This actually HELPS them focus. Sometimes it takes all of their concentration to keep every part of their body still. If they don't have to focus on doing that then they are free to focus on the story I'm reading.

All these boys are going to conquer the world when they grow up! You don't want to take all of that "spirit" out of them. Teach them to control themselves and wait when they need to, but give them an outlet now and then for all of that energy. They will thank you for it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Erasmus

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” Erasmus

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Schedule

This year I planned our routine a little differently, and so far it is working really well. I have been helped by looking at the schedules of many other moms. I'm throwing this out there so it might be of help to someone else. It is a loose outline that we use as a guide, not as a master. Since I linked to resources in my Curriculum Post, I've only added a link if I am mentioning a new resource. Here is our schedule:

7:00 Aiden reads the Bible to Daddy and they answer questions from the Greenleaf Guide; I read my Bible, pray and get dressed
7:30 Get everyone else up and get breakfast on the table (planned the night before hopefully :0)
7:45 Breakfast and clean up
8:15 Back to the table for Bible time:
Pray
Sing Psalm we're working on
Jeremy reads and leads discussion on one chapter of the Old Testament (in sequence)
Memory Verse Review
Sing Hymn we're working on
Pray
8:45 Jeremy leaves for work
9:00 A & A (Aiden, 8; Alex, 6) pick up a bit and have some free time; I do a simple activity with R & R (Riley, 5; Remy, 3). I usually choose the activity beforehand instead of asking them what they want to do. Then I read a picture book listed in Five in a Row and do one of the activities for that.
9:30 Everyone together on the couch for Classical Conversations Memory Work (History song, Science, Math, and then go to the map to point to places for Geography), reading a few Sonlight books, and Prudence with the Millers
10:15ish R & R Room time in separate rooms; A & A at the table with me for math, First Language Lessons, Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (Alex), Handwriting/Copywork, God's Great Covenant, and The Story of the U.S.A. from Sonlight.
10:45ish R & R join us at the table to color and do Kindergarten papers while A & A wrap up. Aiden usually goes to another room to read a chapter of whichever Sonlight Reader he is on. I ask him questions about it using the excellent Instructor's Guide and he narrates what he read.
11:30 Get lunch together and have boys pick up a bit.
11:45 or 12:00 Eat lunch together at the table. I read the chapter of Proverbs that matches the day of the month and hold up pictures from Hidden Treasures to see if they can tell how it goes with the Proverbs.
12:30 or 1:00 R & R rest time. I lie down with them for a minute and tickle their faces; A & A have separate rest time in other areas doing a quiet activity or looking at books; I check my e-mail, read, and rest for about an hour (usually with an interruption or two). Then I read a Sonlight book to the older boys.
3:00 Snack time!
3:15 (Because snack time does not take long around here!) This is a flex time. I do something different each day of the week:
Monday: Artistic Pursuits
Tuesday: Veritas Press History Card Review
Wednesday: Copy maps while listening to Children's Music Masters
Thursday: Science Experiment
Friday: Preschool Art
At least that's the plan :0). Some days they just play or do one of the things mentioned next.
4:00 Usually everyone goes outside or does some kind of free play inside. I plan to play some active games with them during this time, but have not done that yet. I sometimes use PE at Home if it is rainy or they watch a video. Rosetta Stone Spanish or Sign Language For Everyone DVD fit well here if they want to do that (I don't assign either one right now). About this time I start getting dinner together.
5:00 Jeremy gets home, we hang all hang out, eat dinner, clean up, and then hang out some more. On Thursdays we eat together quickly at 5:00 and then Jeremy and I take turns taking one of the boys out on a "date" for 2 hours.
7:00 Bible Time
Pray
Sing Sunday-School type song
Jeremy reads and leads discussion on one chapter of the New Testament (in sequence)
Sing Hymn we are working on
Pray
7:30 or 8:00 boys go to bed and look at books and/or listen to book on tape
8:30ish lights out

There is a lot of FLEX in this routine and lots of extra time built in. That helps us stick to the flow. It's always discouraging when you look up and see that you are an hour behind. So I've tried to leave more than enough time for everything so that we are usually ahead of schedule and feeling relaxed. Things go along much better if I ignore the computer most of the day and don't answer the phone in the morning during school. I'd also like to mention that I don't have a new baby and I am not pregnant. My youngest one is 3 1/2 now and so it has made things much more predictable and manageable than they were in the past when all 4 of them were pretty young.

Are you approachable?

This post has a lot of wisdom for Christian women.

Simple Activities

A few ideas to keep your little ones busy (or to do with them).

Mega Blocks
Look at books
Puzzles
Sidewalk Chalk
Play catch with brother
Make obstacle course
Make indoor club house
Puppet show
Play dough
Help with chores
Dance
Play with cardboard box
Treasure hunt
Take a Bath
Just do nothing
Pattern Blocks
Write on Chalkboard
Brush your teeth
Felt Board
Mega Blocks
Dress Up/Costumes
Masking tape road with cars
Build with wooden blocks
Dominoes
Sort Beans
Sort Macaroni
Bristle Blocks
Paint with water
Pipe Cleaners
Gears
Play food
Pouring Rice
Stickers
Worksheets
Wash dishes
Glue stick art
Color with markers/crayons
Make chair maze
Sticky feet (masking tape around shoes with sticky part out)
Geo board
Shape sorter
Pouring water
Threading cards or beads
Water/oil in bottle with food coloring
Bubble Bottle
Clothes pins in a milk jug
Wedgits
Window Markers
London Bridge/Duck Duck Goose
Teach them how to do rolls, hopping or skipping

Saturday, July 09, 2011

China

We just finished a terrific Biography of Gladys Aylward. We followed it up with the Torchlighters video about her and then the movie The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. I found some videos about foot binding that were really interesting here and here. The boys were obviously very surprised by that custom. For anyone interested in China these resources have all been great.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Garden Your Own Soul

Look at this wonderful reminder to Garden Your Own Soul. I've been reading Dancing With My Father by the same author and so far I heartily recommend it! I don't think you can really go wrong with a book by Sally Clarkson.

Discussion

My friend Shannon posted a great quote she heard in a Sunday School class about gossip.

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Are you willing?

Edith Schaeffer said “Somebody has to get up early, stay up late, do more than the others, if the human garden is to be a thing of beauty.”

I found this gem here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

P.E.

I almost forgot! In addition to tons of time playing outside, we really love P.E. at Home. Check it out!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yearly Curriculum Post

Yup. It's time again! I'm mostly done planning for this year's school. That is a good thing since I plan to start the first part of July. I like getting a jump on it so I can take off when we need to throughout the year. I am almost a year rounder, but I don't feel like I can call myself that. When May rolls around I always need a little break. That means I don't even think about school for a month. Then I start planning and get excited about it again! This year Aiden will be in 3rd, Alex in 2nd, Riley in Kindergarten, and Remy will be...enjoying being 3. Well, here is our plan for the coming year.

Bible: We'll be using the Bible for this subject of course! Still working on the details of this one. I do know that Aiden will be reading his bible by himself. We read one chapter together as a family in the morning and at night, and I read one chapter of Proverbs at lunch. We will work on scripture memory (using The Topical Memory verses) around breakfast using this oranization system. Aiden and Alex will both be using God's Great Covenant and I am excited about that. Lastly, we will be singing one hymn and one Psalm until we know them (for a month maybe?) and Sunday School type songs to have fun with the kids. Jamie Soles has kids albums that are terrific and also 3 albums on the Psalms.

Math: Saxon 3 for Aiden. Saxon 2 for Alex. I don't do the "whole shebang" with Saxon. At this age I basically just have them do the workbook pages. Everyday they usually have one sheet that is a lesson and one full sheet of problems to work quickly. I got a Comprehensive Curriculum from Sam's (for $8) for Riley to work through that has math and reading content.

Reading
: Aiden is reading the Sonlight Readers from core 3. I adore all of the Sonlight readers. Alex and Riley are at different places in the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. This book is terrific. I would recommend it to anyone. Alex is also finishing the 1st grade readers and starting the 2nd grade readers from Sonlight.

Writing: Italic Handwriting and Presidential Penmanship for Aiden and Alex. The latter also covers copywork and I'll use it for dictation here and there. First Language Lessons is still a favorite of ours and we'll be using level 2 and level 3. I'm not using Writing With Ease this year even thought I liked it last year. I'm going to do the same thing that's in that book, but use content from our other subjects for copywork, dictation, and narration.

History: Sonlight core D. I'm also using Classical Conversations memory work again this year. The boys loved it and it really provided a "spine" to go along with all the great books from Sonlight. I use the Audio CD and the Memory Cards. These cards and CDs cover history, science, math, English grammar, Latin, geography locations, and U.S. Presidents (I only do the History, Science, Math, and Geography). We also use the Veritas Press History Flashcards along with a little chant to outline history. Last year we spent time learning the flashcards so this year we'll just review them with the chant once a week.

Science
: I'm using the science Memory Work from Classical Coversations (mentioned in the History section). We'll also be doing one science experiment per week (as long as I get it together). I have a lot of kits, but I seem to have trouble pulling them out for some reason! I'm vowing to do better this year. Aiden especially is always doing little projects and making things on his own so we are not lacking in science exposure!

Art: Artistic Pursuits and Preschool Art. FYI, I got the Artistic Pursuits Book and art kit with all the supplies from Miller Pads and Paper here.

Music
: Children's Music Masters CD's. They tell the story of the musician.His music plays in the background and continues after the narrative is over. I'll play these while the boys copy maps from Uncle Josh's Outline Maps for Geography once per week.

For Riley and Remy: I'll be using Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row. I have a few books from each list so I will use the material for the books I have. I'm also going to use the Toddler's Busy Book and the Preschooler's Busy Book.

Greek
: We decided to do Greek instead of Latin since many of the benefits are the same. Since Jeremy knows Greek this will be his subject (though I hope to learn it too!). He's going to start with the Greek Alphabet Code Cracker and Song School Greek.

Spanish: Rosetta Stone. I love this program. We are taking this very slow and basically letting the boys do it when they want to. It is their only thing on the computer this year so they think it is really fun! I do too, but can't find quite as much time to spend on it :0)

Fun: Yes, I have to schedule it in. I plan to use some of the games from Child's Play Around the World. I have some GeoPuzzles that I'm going to use. *Update-P.E. at Home is perfect for a rainy (or super hot!) day.* I'm going to try to work in Lessons in Responsibility, but it may fall by the wayside.

Well, I guess that about does it! We'll see how it goes. I revamped the way I am doing things this year by scheduling the 3 R's (Reading, Writing, and aRithmetic) first and then flexing a bit on everything else. I think that will help me be more laid back. Afterall, my philosophy is this...Teach them how to read well, write well, and do well in math and they can learn anything! Give them the tools, read to them a ton about all kinds of things, and then watch them go!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Relating to your kids.

In the Hidden Art of Homemaking, Edith Schaeffer writes, “You cannot expect to have a close relationship with a teenager who, after all, is still the same person as the two-year-old you stuck crying into bed, the three-year-old you spanked and shoved aside, the four-year-old you wouldn’t listen to, the five-year-old you never shared beauty with, the six-year-old you found boring, or you ‘trained’ never to butt in, but never gave time to make a cozy and beautiful background out of which you could talk to him or her.” Thanks to Charlotte Siems for embedding this quote in her post Living Backwards.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

What are you aiming at?

With the kids I mean? What is your goal in parenting? Let this little gem refresh your memory. It did mine. Oh, and the author of that post has a book that is terrific. It's called Loving the Little Years and any woman that has anything to do with children could benefit from the wisdom in it's pages.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Some Inspiration

Everyone does things differently. We all have family cultures and schedules that have to be worked around. But, I think all of us would love to know God's Word better and enjoy it more. I have rounded up some links on that topic that I think you might find helpful. I know I did. Don't use them to beat yourself over the head. Rather find encouragement. Pick an area and kick it up a notch. Get into God's Word and bring your kids along for the ride.

One Habit
The Word in Many Different Ways Also read comment #14.
Making It Fun
One More About the Standard

Monday, June 06, 2011

Panamanian Rice

My friend Samantha gave me this recipe. It is a really yummy and inexpensive side dish.

Panamanian Rice

To make 4 C. of Panamanian rice

Pour:

vegetable oil into a frying pan, about enough to coat the pan and maybe more. When you pour the rice in to brown it, you want the rice to be coated in vegetable oil, but not swimming in it.

Add:

1 C rice to frying pan. Brown the rice until it gets dark brown.

Add:

4 C water

1 C rice

2 t salt

Bring it to a boil and then let it boil until the water and rice are level.

Stir the rice, cover it, and turn the burner to low and let it simmer until the rest of the water simmers out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Community

"A community is only a community when the majority of its members are making the transition from 'the community for myself' to 'myself for the community.'"
-- Jean Vanier

Monday, April 11, 2011

What were we doing?

In the video that I just posted Tim Challies he says this (paraphrased from the video):

"One third of women in their 20s and 30s check Facebook before going to the bathroom in the morning... What were they doing during that time before Facebook was invented? What did they give up? Well, Christian women were reading their bible and praying."

The Next Story

How should we as Christians use technology? How is it changing us? Listen to this while you fold laundry. You'll be so glad that you did!



Thanks Pastor Lee for the link!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Check out this terrific recipe for Baked Oatmeal. It is easy, you can make it ahead, and it keeps you full. Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Prayer

Here is a great post about making a time and place for prayer. Inspiring and practical. I'm also adding a link to the book The Psalms for Prayer. I love this book and it has been a huge help to me in learning how to pray and what to pray for.

Lastly, my husband recently sent me a helpful quote:

The three duties of reading Scripture, meditation, and prayer belonged together, and though each could be done occasionally on its own, as formal duties to God they were best done together. ~ Peter Toon

So as you read the bible, pray. As you pray, use your bible as a guide. And during both make some time to meditate on what God is saying to you, today, through each one.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Memorization for Kids

Here is a TERRIFIC post about scripture memory for kids. Here is another one that describes this family's system for organizing verses in an index card box...genius! Thanks Raising Olives for all of your terrific ideas!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cinnamon Toast

Did you know that there is one right way to make Cinnamon Toast? Check out this entertaining post by Pioneer Woman. According to my family, her version WAS the best!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Boys

Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system... They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession... —R.M. Ballantyne, The Gorilla Hunters

Monday, March 07, 2011

Refrigerator Raisin Bran Muffins

*UPDATED* I had a typo where the oil and sugar was concerned. It has been corrected :0)

This is such a handy recipe because it makes a TON! You keep the batter in the fridge (for up to 6 weeks!) and only bake as many as you need at one time.

Refrigerator Raisin Bran Muffins

4 eggs
15 oz box of Raisin Bran Cereal
4c buttermilk (1 quart)
1c vegetable oil
2 1/2c sugar
Mix and set aside.

5c flour
5 t baking soda
2 t salt
3 t cinnamon
Mix and then stir into wet ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours before baking (and up to 6 weeks). To bake, fill greased muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes. Yield 5 dozen muffins.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Children's Education

The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which the earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God- this is his task on earth.

R.L. Dabney
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Judges 2:10-15

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the LORD’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the LORD gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We must make sure that our children know what God has done. We must make time for them to be well acquainted with the scriptures. If we don't then the next generation might grown up and know "neither the Lord nor what he [has] done for Israel" and for us.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Relationships with Children

I would love for you to print off a terrific piece by Doorposts entitled Making Relationships With Your Children a Priority. It is very short and easy to read (bullet style), but packs a punch with terrific ideas and practical application. Click here and scroll down to Doorposts on the left. Click the link to Making Relationships With Your Children a Priority. Thanks Tricia for posting it first!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can 'O Paint

This is the bathroom in our little rental house. It needed a face lift :0)

BEFORE


AFTER

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Your Marriage Needs Some More Resurrection

"The usual mark of all dysfunctional families is that they are serious. Very serious. Now, our problems are serious, very serious. God took them seriously and showed His grief in the Crucifixion. But the Resurrection is God’s laughter and God’s joy. And if our religion cannot make us joyful, and very light, and make us float with laughter, then it is not worth much. The Tea Party scene in Mary Poppins is a very Christian scene. That was a very Christian tea party. If we are not laughing often, then we do not have enough Resurrection in us.

Anxious, sexless, uncommunicative marriages need more Resurrection. Lots more Resurrection."

This is a quote from a terrific article about marriage by Rich Bledsoe (a pastor for many years). The entire article is great and can be found here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

P.E. at Home!

I was looking for something that could help me do a little PE with my boys at home. I found it! P.E. At Home is a DVD made by an actual P.E. teacher and his students. It has all of the things that I remember doing in my P.E. class as a kid. It is very physical and would be a workout for mom as well. I want my kids to play outside a lot, and the man on the video encourages that as well. But, for some structured physical exercise and work on coordination, this is a terrific video.

Ouch

Read this article about letting your husband lead and say it with me...ouch. Thanks again, Nancy.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Potty Training


Toilet Training in Less Than a Day. Impossible? Think again. We have used this method with all 4 of our boys and it has worked great! My husband does the 1 day of training while I take the other kids out for a day of fun. The little trainer loves having daddy all to himself and it is a fun day with lots of special drinks and treats for rewards. I will say that there might still be a few days of staying on top of it after that first day. I like to stay around the house for as long as possible after the first day to cement everything they learned. But for the most part they learned the system in one day and then we had a few days to work out the kinks. We still remind them to go at certain times of day. And, we used the big potty (with an insert) for some of the kids instead of a potty chair. But we love the training system these authors have put together. We have just tweaked it from child to child.

The authors originally put this method together to assist mentally retarded adults so that they could learn to live without as much assistance. They adapted their method to use for young children.

If you are in the market for something that will be quick, give it a try. Even if the child does not master potty training in one day, it is sure to be much quicker than other options and a fun day for the trainer and trainee!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Contentment

Jeremiah Burroughs said in The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment:

Though I have not outward comforts and worldly conveniences to supply my necessities, yet I have a sufficient portion between Christ and my soul abundantly to satisfy me in every condition.

and

The doctrinal conclusion briefly is this: That to be well skilled in the mystery of Christian contentment is the duty, glory and excellence of a Christian.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let them bask in your smile

"Enjoy the children and cause them to enjoy you. Don’t ask anything of them that is not absolutely necessary to the stability of the home, give them something they want—not selfish demands, just ignore those. Give them your time, your attention, your laugh, your approval, your touch, hugs, reading, silly funnies, rolling on the carpet or yard, pushing in the swing, or pulling in the wagon. But most of all, let them bask in your smile until they need it like they need the next breath. Cause them to feed on your fellowship, to relax until they are sure you care only for their good, that you live to enjoy their company and would not be happy without them. Do this and you will have achieved what most Christian homes are missing."

Michael Pearl
addressing a newly converted mother that is trying to establish some discipline in her home. Her children have been in foster care much of their life. I appreciated the reminder to delight in my children in all of these ways.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scripture Music

This is a terrific way to saturate your home with scripture. Here are a few of my favorite musicians that have set scripture to music:

Jamie Soles
The Sterlings
Sons of Korah
Steve Green
The Harrow Family

If you have other favorites please post them in the comments. We would love to get them!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weather

The guy being interviewed here talks about the weather and how global warming is a hoax. This man has predicted weather about a year out with alarming accuracy using a system that farmers have used for a very long time (farmer's almanac anyone?). Very interesting and informative!



Customize your copywork with your handwriting font!

I just bought something that is really nifty! Educational Fontware sells a CD that has handwriting fonts on it. For about $50 you can buy the CD and download the fonts to your computer. They offer many of the popular handwriting methods and print with rules and dotted lines, or outlines, or arrows. You choose. You could choose copy work from your history or science lesson and type it out using these fonts to use as your child's copy work and handwriting all in one! It could also be great for scripture memory and handwriting in one. Lastly, when you order the CD it has all of the fonts on it. You have access to them all. So, if you have used different methods with different children, that would be an added bonus!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prayer Calendar

Thanks to Tricia for posting this Prayer Calendar. It has a scripture for each day of the month that you can pray for your children (and your self!). It's sort of like The Power of a Praying Parent, but in an at-a-glance format. Let's pray for our kids! If we don't, who will?

Friday, January 07, 2011

Time Management

I already mentioned the e-book Tell Your Time a few months ago. It's great! I wanted to mention one of the points that she makes.

We sometimes act like we have no control over our time. But, in reality, we have total control. We choose what we are going to do every minute. Granted that some things must happen, but even the things that must happen can be fiddled with a bit if needed. And many things, even good things, could be cut out or delegated. In 2011, take charge and tell your time what to do. Don't let your life go by feeling like you have no control over it. You can do it!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Take it off the top

My husband came up with a helpful little analogy. When we receive income we take the tithe off of the top and give it to God. That 10% is given first and then we figure out where the rest will go. When finding time to read God's Word, memorize it, and pray my wise hubby suggested that we should take it off the top as well. In other words, that time gets fit into the schedule first.

It does not have to be the first thing we do each day, but it should be the last thing that gets cut from the schedule. It can be worked in little slots here and there. But IT gets worked in instead of finding time for leisure reading, e-mail, sleep, Facebook, watching a movie, blogging, having the laundry totally caught up, getting the house deep cleaned, working on scrapbooks, or calling a friend. All of those things are good and to be enjoyed fully. But not at the expense of time in the Word and prayer. After all, if the Word and prayer are truly our weapons against the world, the flesh, and the devil, then we should keep them ready for battle. We should be armed and very familiar with our weapons. We want our kids to see first hand (by our lives) that we love and need the Word of God.

Job 23:12b "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread."

A few ways to begin:

Set aside time to read a chapter of scripture per day. It will take less than 5 minutes. Put your bible on the back of the toilet if you must!

Or use Bible Track. It is a daily podcast. You can listen to it online or download it to an MP3 player or your computer. By listening daily (for an average of 30 minutes) you will go through the bible in 1 year (with commentary along the way done by the pastor reading the text). Fold laundry while you listen. We all have laundry to fold! *I don't agree with some important points in his commentary, but a lot of it is helpful.

Memorize 1 verse a month. You could do more of course, but start with something attainable. Print off 10 copies and put it in places that you will see it often. Just read it and repeat it aloud every time you see it. You'll have it memorized before you know it.

Make time for prayer. Make it a habit. When you are driving. When you are in the bathroom. When you have insomnia. When you are nursing. When you are thinking thoughts that you really don't need to be thinking...pray. Pray for your kids. Pray for your husband. Pray for the church throughout the world. Confess your sins and know that you are indeed forgiven! Give thanks to God for all of his wonderful gifts. Again, 5 minutes is better than not ever making time to pray. Start small if needed, but become a woman of prayer.

And, when that is a habit...fit in even more. It is your time. Spend it on the things that matter most.

Take this time off the top and you'll be glad that you did!

Dirty Dishes Cause Debt

I originally saw this post in an e-mail from Marilyn Moll. It is written by Jill Cooper from Living on a Dime.
~~~~~~~~~~
Dirty Dishes Cause Debt! by Jill Cooper
www.livingonadime.com

The other day I was asked one of the most common questions that people ask me: "Where do I start if I want to get out of debt?" After telling me of her huge credit card debt and how they eat out almost every night, the lady took a deep breath and said, "How do I save on laundry detergent and cleaning supplies?" Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.

Even though saving money on cleaning supplies does help and should be part of your plan, that usually isn't where the biggest problem with the debt lies. This woman never once thought to ask me how to stop eating out so much. Most people don't want to face the real causes of their debt because their biggest problems are the things they like the most. Going out to eat is one of the top five causes of debt.

Get those dirty dishes out of the sink!!

We go out to eat because we can't face a dirty kitchen. Keeping your kitchen empty of dirty dishes is the key to saving money. This is probably the #1 way to start getting out of debt. Most people are so overwhelmed with piled counter tops and dirty dishes that they would rather go out to eat than face a dirty kitchen.

Do the dishes after every meal and keep hot soapy water in the sink while you are baking or cooking. Clean as you go. If your sink is empty and the dishes are washed, your kitchen always looks good. This helps you save money because you have the time and space to cook.



To get in and out of the kitchen quickly, try these easy steps:

1. Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Fill the sink with hot soapy water and put the hand washables in it to soak.

2. Wipe off counter tops and tables with hot soapy water. (This way, if you have unexpected company, at least your table and counters will be clean.)

3. Sweep the floor and shake throw rugs if needed.

4. Wash the dishes that have been soaking.

5. Wipe down the faucets and dry with a towel. (Be sure to wipe any sticky appliances, too.)

6. Put out a clean dish rag and towel.

7. Take out the trash.

These simple steps can help you start climbing your way out of debt. You will be amazed how much better you will feel just having the kitchen clean.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

What you can do.

Sometimes it feels like we moms are really short on TIME! Well, even if you have one minute there are things that you can do to help the world around you. Check out this nifty little site called What You Can Do. Even if you don't like all of their suggestions, you might find one or two that you can do. Click the months on the right to see 1 minute videos with their ideas. This might be a fun thing for school.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bible Overview

The Old Testament Made Simple and The New Testament Made Simple are two wonderful resources for gaining a terrific grasp of the bible as a whole.

The OT book provides "8 quick and easy ways to get a clear-focused overview of the entire OT". These include:
The 7 major moves of the people of the OT
The 20 key people of the OT
The 3 major divisions of the OT
The 11 books that contain more than 95% of the narrative of the OT
And easy way to remember the basic contents of each of the books of the OT
God's 7 major covenants with man
The 5 major time periods
The 50 major events of the OT

Each of these 8 overviews goes from the beginning to the end of the Old Testament and highlights certain things. So, when you integrate them all at the end of the book, they really work together to give a wonderful skeleton to the OT.

The New Testament book provides 8 outlines as well:
The 3 major divisions of the NT
The 8 major time periods
The 8 men who wrote the NT
The 25 major trips
The 3 "flurries" of NT activity
The transition from the OT to the New
The NT in 44 "bite-sized" pieces
An easy way to remember the basic content of each of the NT books.

These books are very simple, to the point, and not very long. They would be a wonderful addition to any family's library. Let's make 2011 the year that we get serious about knowing the bible inside and out!